RIP Thomas M. Cooley Law School?
The first law school to seriously feel the heat from the fire of plummeting applications and an atrocious job market is the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based offshoot of Western Michigan University. Thomas M. Cooley Law School is shutting down one of its five campuses. The demise will not completely force current students (what is left of them) to fend for themselves. The school is offering Ann Arbor students the ability to transfer to any of the school’s other four locations and will offer a total of $5,000 each to help with the transition.
This is not a surprise for the students, as the school announced initial plans to shut down the campus a few months earlier. This is just the official confirmation of the end.
It is true that many law schools have been affected by the economic crash of 2008 and 2009. But the law schools in the third and fourth tiers have been hit the hardest. The floor is falling out, and the bottom feeders are left grasping for a ledge to hold onto.
Cooley’s numbers peaked in 2010 with enrollment at a massive 3,931 students. Since then, numbers have dropped 40% to a current enrollment of 2,334. Cooley President, Don LeDuc, said the school set aside a “fair amount of money” in preparation for what they thought would be a significant drop. What they did not prepare for is how long the drop would take place.
So now the question has to be, just how long will applications continue to drop at Cooley and other schools? Especially schools akin to Cooley. How many law schools will have to close up shop before the number of applications stabilizes or begins to increase? Time will tell. For now, Cooley will circle the wagons and decide what to do with the 84,500 square-foot building it purchased from the Maria School of Law for $10.6 million in 2012.
Source: Lansing State Journal